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The MMORPG the biggest fishbowl experiment ever.


I’ve come to the conclusion that a MMORPG has to be the biggest ‘fish bowl’ experiment, that most of the players aren’t even aware they are in … What do I mean? Blizzard gave us a game. We created a culture. In game and Out, and social anthropologists I’m sure study these virtual worlds with glee…

Its been the players that have used the ‘rules’ given to them by the creators ‘god’ and adapted them into practicality – Applying them to ‘ virtual reality’ Its like throwing people onto a deserted island with limited tools and skills. How do they survive? What Social, Political, Financial ( trade/barter), industrial society develops because of the limitations.

Some examples?
Who came up with spell rotations?
Who comes up with strategies for Quests/Fights Bosses
BG Tactics?
Who pores over Reports on DPS and Crit and Proc Percentages to determine the best possible gear.
The best use of Talent points for each class and Spec
Social Dynamics and hierarchies  such as officers in guilds / raid leaders  from GM Roles to Pugs..

and any theorycraft practically.

Players do..  Blizz gave us a world..     Players are the cogs that run it.

Did blizzard think of Level 19 Twinks? Or only encourage a ‘sub culture’ by refining rules such as item levels for enchants and item enhancements. Level 19’s still don’t have BG Rewards why? People who Twink out a level 19 don’t do it for the shinny epics.. They do it for the pleasure of playing and getting the maximum out of of a level by hunting down ruthlessly the best available gear at that level, and utilising the existing ‘rules’ of the Warcraft Universe to get the best advantage. Eg Quest rewards don’t have level requirements. If you can pick up the quest you can pick up the item. People have to plan their twink by about level 12 Did Blizzard predict this? or watch in amusement at this growing ‘side game’ within wow.

Blizzard and any other MMORPGdevelopers give people a set of rules, and the players determine what parts of that Game is worthy playing, and Blizzard has shown some adapatability in encourging  ( or discouraging ) particular methods of play – by making the Guild Social Interaction easier ( in game Voice chat that no one uses..   and Guild banks

Which begs the theory – does the success of the game depend on the original concept, or the way in which the players are allowed to run with the concept?

What prompted this line of thought? A Shadow Priests Shadow Word Death.

“A word of dark binding that inflicts X to Y Shadow damage to the target. If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.”

My Crits are hurting me. Bad. I raid with around 9.1-9.3 health depending on how many class buffs we have, I stam up for BT so as to survive Najentus’s Blast Wave, and it helps when running from Volcano’s in supremeous, I’ve been getting a moonkin in my group and with a Base – unbuffed +shadow Damage of 1295 now I am criting for 4k that’s practically half my health, and yes healers now know to heal me up and my VE helps. So it got me thinking. Is the spell being used as blizzard intended, or has its use ‘Evolved’ as players tested the spell and discovered the beneficial ways it could be used.

The Original concept was whenever you kill a target using Shadow worth death, if you are talent spec’d into Spirit Tap you can have a 100% chance of boosting your Spirit by 100% and allowing 50% mana regeneration while casting for 15 sec. So instead of getting an Innervate like Mages do for themselves, or Druids do for themselves, or others, or Life tap for warlocks this was a way for priests to get mana back at a reasonable rate.

Was Shadow word death intended to be used as an essential DPS tool? Its not an completely unique idea, self damage for beneficial results.. Eg Warlocks Life Tap has the same concept, they do it to get mana back.. i wonders..

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4 Responses to “The MMORPG the biggest fishbowl experiment ever.”


  1. 1 Hannah June 27, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Definitely a hugely interesting concept about the fishbowl – though I haven’t gone shadow often enough to follow the rest of the discussion about PW:D. You might find the Daedalus Project very interesting – it’s actual research into the MMPORG worlds and why things are done the way they are. http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/

  2. 2 Darraxus June 27, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Warlocks can certainly heal themselves quite well actually. Its just that most of them would rather get healed by someone else and continue to shadowbolt spam. If your health starts getting a bit low and you arent getting heals then drain life. It heals you quite a bit and is worth the mana.

  3. 3 Who Dinged June 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    WoW can definitely be seen as a fishbowl experiment – remember the disease outbreaks last year? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6951918.stm

  4. 4 pugnacious priest - A female Players Warcraft Blog June 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Yeah i remember reading about that.. “And some who were sick made it their mission to deliberately infect others” thats funny, because I can so see that happening. if they tested it with a , If you die… you cannot log in for 2 hours on that toon, it may have made people more or less likely to try and infect others…


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